I’m not saying that the WideEyedSpouse and I compete against each other. That would be a gross exaggeration. However, it is nice to get a win every now and again, to be better at something, like say, concocting the best dill pickle or power shifting in the powerful Mach 5 (the demon on wheels, my Mini Cooper S). Of course the decision as to who is better at any given event is subject to in-house debate. Data proofs and examples are required during the win-lose negotiations. We may query the dogs for their perspective. The judges, Spouse and I, are not impartial. It has happened that I determined myself the winner regardless of the Spouse’s contrary findings. It’s all in good fun. Mostly.
Yesterday an external judge gave the Spouse a win that will haunt me for decades.
We have had exactly the same number of Olympic recurve-style archery lessons. Six. At them, we stand side by side at the range and are coached as we shoot. We have almost exactly the same gear, except for our differences in size and strength.
Until yesterday I believed that neither of us was winning at the archery skills affinity contest yet. This took a certain amount of self-delusion because I could clearly see that the Spouse’s arrows were more often in the bullseye. Mine are little wider ranging. But still, belief is powerful.
Evidently after you loose an arrow you are supposed to maintain your posture while allowing the bow fall as it will. I was told it is like following through in golf or bowling, neither of which is in my skillset. It seems that after I loose the arrow and I immediately collapse my arms and back, entirely ruining the shot. Coach corrected me several times, using a variety of phases: “Keep that arm up. Where’s that arrow? Watch that bow. Stay in position. Follow it through.” Then she uttered the words that, to be fair, I may have deserved.
“Watch your Spouse,” she said, “he’ll show you how it’s done.” Silence fell across the range. The Spouse, poised to shoot, froze. His eyes wandered over to me and I could his see him trying to stop the spread of him smarmy smirk. I glared at the side of his head. I tried to bore a hole into it, far enough to give him a tiny memory lobotomy with my laser eyes.
For years I will hear “watch me, I’ll show you how it’s done,” irritating in its own right, and an eternally vexing reminder of my failure to win on that day. Can you hear my teeth grinding?